Employee Rights

Navigating Legal Complexities: Insights from the Sacramento City Council Member's Immigration Case

In a recent groundbreaking development, a Sacramento City Council member, Shahrir "Sean" Loloee, and his general manager, Karla Montoya, have been indicted on serious charges related to the exploitation of immigrant workers. This case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (Case No. 2:23-cr-00320), sheds light on the complexities and legal intricacies surrounding immigration and labor laws in the United States.

The Allegations and Their Impact

According to the 25-count indictment, Loloee and Montoya allegedly staffed Loloee's grocery chain, "Viva Supermarket," with unauthorized immigrants for nearly 15 years. These workers, due to their precarious immigration status, were reportedly subjected to subpar wages and intimidating conditions, including threats of adverse immigration consequences. This case highlights the vulnerability of undocumented workers and the potential for exploitation in labor practices.

Legal Ramifications and Responsibilities

As an experienced immigration attorney and former immigration officer, I understand the legal ramifications of such cases. Employers have a responsibility to adhere to immigration and labor laws, and violations can lead to serious legal consequences. This case underlines the importance of compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and other relevant statutes, ensuring fair treatment of all workers regardless of their immigration status.

Advocacy and Legal Representation

For those facing similar situations or having concerns about immigration and labor laws, seeking knowledgeable legal counsel is crucial. An experienced immigration attorney can provide guidance and representation, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you navigate the complex legal landscape effectively.

The Importance of Legal Awareness

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of legal awareness and compliance in the realm of immigration and labor laws. It underscores the need for employers to understand and adhere to these laws, and for employees to be aware of their rights.


The case against Loloee and Montoya is a significant reminder of the ongoing challenges in the immigration and labor sectors. As legal professionals, we must continue to advocate for fair and just treatment of all individuals, regardless of their immigration status.


This blog is based on the article “Calif. City Official Exploited Immigrant Workers, DOJ Says” by Alyssa Aquino, published in Law360 on December 15, 2023.

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